Do You Worship Mary?

Orthodox Christians bless, venerate, and honor Mary, but we never worship her.

We honor Mary due to her relationship with Christ, it is never done in isolation or based on her own merit. In the icons of the church will rarely, if ever, see Mary depicted by herself. She is always shown with Christ.The most common image is Mary holding Christ with her hand pointing to Him, directing the faithful to look unto Christ for salvation.

In Luke, we read,

LUKE 11:27-28
A certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!” But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

Mary is not honored solely based on the fact the she physically gave birth to or nurtured Jesus. She is honored because she heard the word and kept it. It is her life of being completely surrendered to the will of God that she is honored. While giving birth to Christ is Mary’s own unique experience, her example of submission can be followed by all Christians.

The Orthodox church lives out the scripture,

LUKE 1:48
“henceforth all generations will call me blessed.”

There has been much debate in recent centuries about the level of veneration that is due to Mary, largely due to the fear of going too far. The unfortunate result has been to not honor Mary at all. In fact, the Rev. Billy Graham has said repeatedly, “We evangelical Christians do not give Mary her proper due.” Many modern Christians look at Mary as a distant historical figure but for Orthodox Christians she is a present, living example in our worship of the one God. Since the beginning of Christianity to the present day we have never ceased to honor Mary.